2013 Ford Fusion, Fusion Hybrid Receive Top Safety Rating From NHTSA

Ford announced yesterday that the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) awarded the company’s Fusion and Fusion Hybrid a top safety rating for overall performance in NHTSA’s New Car Assessment Program (NCAP) testing.

The relatively new testing procedure combines vehicle performance in frontal and side-impact crash tests, and resistance to rollover.

The 2013 Fusion was also named a Top Safety Pick+ from the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) last month. The Top Safety Pick + designation is the highest rating the organization has for vehicle safety, and includes what the institute calls a small overlap frontal crash.

While the Fusion performed well enough in all five categories to earn the Top Safety Pick+, last month the Toyota Prius v and Camry were rated as “poor” by the IIHS in the small overlap test.

According to the IIHS, 25 percent of a car’s front-end on the driver side strikes a five-foot-tall rigid barrier at 40 mph. The institute says small overlap test represents a severe crash. The Toyotas otherwise performed well in other crash testing evaluations by the IIHS.

Ford attributes the high scores to what it calls The Personal Safety System. The safety system is a network of components that work together to tailor the deployment of the front airbags during frontal collisions.

A restraint control module (RCM) compiles information from the front outboard safety belt buckle switches, driver-seat track position, passenger seat weight sensor, as well as front crash sensors, and uses the data to activate the safety belt pretensioners to determine how the dual-stage front airbags will deploy based on sensor information about front occupants.

Side airbag venting technology also takes into account the size of the occupant, and varies the pressure so smaller occupants receive a lower pressure. On larger passengers, the occupant’s shoulder engages the vent and keeps it from venting so the gas stays inside the airbag.

“The Fusion and Fusion Hybrid exemplify the new face of Ford vehicles and demonstrate Ford’s commitment to safety in all its vehicles across the globe,” said Steve Kenner, Global Director of the Ford Automotive Safety Office (ASO).